It's really cold when we get up today. I mean, REALLY. Ok, so not really cold by Prairie standards, or Arctic standards, no, not like that. But, ok really chilly. How's that? I have plans...yeah I know, plans...to go to the store if Richard will drive me over. No way will I drive that stalling vehicle anywhere. It makes me say swears.
We make a foray down to the Victoria Quay to eat a burger and watch for wildlife, and are entertained by a couple of seals in the middle of the Canal. They appear to be diving for fish. Or teasing seagulls. Or just having fun frolicking in the water, doing seal things. Last week when we were at the Quay, there were Sea Lions fishing. We got a kick out of one of them, who swam over to the shore and barked at a man who was standing and watching them.
Driving back into the yard, Richard points out a pile of Cute Little Island Black Bear poop at the corner by the shed. I make a scrunchy face, but make him stop so I can get out and photograph it. Why would I do that, you ask? Read on...
...last night I talked to Bente and she told me a funny story. She does like I do in the morning, check her garden to see what is new. As she walked out that morning, something on the forest side of her street caught her eye. Like me, she talks to herself sometimes: "Is that...? Naw, it can't be...it IS! A huge pile of Bear Poop!" Back indoors she goes for her camera. What!?! Well it's what I would have done too! Out she comes and takes photo's of it. She figures it was a big GrandDaddy bear from the size of it.
She spent the day working at cleaning up her garden and yard, all the while watching to see who would finally run over this pile. Her young neighbor won that lottery, snicker. She sent me the photo's last night and I have to tell you, I have a REALLY strong stomach, but one of those nasty photos nearly made me wretch!!! My photos of the Bear poop are revenge, albeit not as nasty as hers. And that will teach me to laugh about her Bear poop...
...after bringing in our meager purchases and giving the dogs a treat for being good while we were gone, I hunt up my toque, my mitts, and my jacket so I can take the kids out into the garden yard. Pippi looks at me funny when I put on my toque, lifting her ears in question: "You not reely gonna go out like dat, are ya mom?" They race out towards the boat, screeching to a halt under the King Apple tree. Uh oh, that's not a good sign. They are busy sniffing about as I hobble up, and Pippi growls at the others in a back-off-I-found-it-first-and-you-can't-have-a-sniff kinda way. I try to push her away and she resists. UH OH, THAT'S NOT A GOOD SIGN.
Hmmmm, my eyes go slitty. Broken branch on ground, lots of leaves, apples - some chewed on. I glance quickly around, trying not to alarm the dogs and and spy it, not two feet from them. BEAR POOP, two little piles of it. Oh Gak! As quickly as I can, I shoo the dogs back into the house, then shout at Richard to bring the scoop shovel. Then quickly go in and retrieve my camera. The photo above shows you how happy he was to comply with my request. I scooped dirt from the garden boat to put on the spot where the bear pooped and where I assume it peed - that being what the kids were trying to sniff up.
Excitement over, we loose the hounds again so they can finally have their run in the yard. Back inside, I do some laundry while Richard gets the wood stove going. It is very cold in the house. The kids settle on the back of the sofa to watch for bear monsters.
Around 4pm, Richard has gone to check on Ron and I decide to take the dogs out to the garden yard again for a run in the chilly air. Mason races out to the corner of the fence where he immediately starts to growl, snarl and bark, looking down towards the big pear trees. Darn, it's the Cute Little Island Black Bear, and he's real busy in the Comice Pears. Roaring at the dogs, I chase them inside again - not our day for outdoors I guess. I watch him come down the tree from the living room patio doors.
The thing about black bears is they don't just climb the tree then sit and eat the fruit. Oh no. They climb the tree, pick the fruit, toss it to the ground, make their descent, then lay down and enjoy the fruits of their labor - pun intended. Sneaking out, I try and get some photo's of him, shooting through the opening between the Holly Bushes. I'm not too successful because it is cloudy and I'm a tad shaky. Yup, I am that unnerved by them. And yes, my door was locked.
I give up and work on making dinner, all the while having one eye turned towards the window in case he decides to get really bold and go for the apples. About 5:15 or so, the dogs alert that Richard is home. I wait for him to come through the door to tell him about the bear. And wait. And wait. Finally I look out the kitchen window and see him parked down by the little pear tree, making motions towards the big pear trees. Hmmmmmm. Outside I holler at him that the bear has been there for an hour and a half. He is laughing at it and tells me to grab my camera.
We negotiate and I decide to back the van up to where I can get some decent shots of him. Meanwhile Richard is hollering and banging on the old wheelbarrow. The more noise you make when you have a bear in your yard, the more you frighten it, the less chance he will return again...in theory. I shoot some photo's, then Richard suggests I back up and around the drive so I am facing bear and the tree, maybe get better shots. I do so with trepidation.
Now I am about 30 feet from it - the bear being up in the pear tree - and quickly shoot 2 photo's. Mr. Bear decides he has just about had enough of these human's, grunts and grumbles at me and starts to move in the tree like he is going to climb down. I am GONE! Back around by the little pear tree I see something drop out of the tree. Eeeewwwww gross! He is going to the bathroom from up in the tree! Richard is laughing at me for taking off so fast and at the bear for doing what bears do. I'm heading inside; I too have had enough.
My photo's don't turn out too good this time either, that shaky thing you know. But that has been enough excitement for one day. New rules:
1. Gate to garden yard ALWAYS remains closed and locked.
2. Before dogs go out, check thorougly to ensure no bear in yard.
3. Check that no bear in pear trees.
4. After dogs back in house, close and lock gate.
These rules remain in effect until all fruit finished up and bear gone.
So, what did we learn from all this? That's easy. We learned that the answer to the age old question "Does a bear sh*t in the woods?" is "nope, not necessarily all the time" and "sometimes he sh*ts on them."
And that's the bear, er, bare facts.